Why Government Suspended Ban on Chinese Fish

Kenya on Thursday temporarily suspended the ban imposed on importing Chinese fish.

According to a document seen by Kenyans.co.ke, the Acting Director General of the Kenya Fisheries Service Susan Imende stated that the ban that was set to take effect in January 2019, was temporarily put on hold as the government sought a way forward on the matter.

"This is to inform you that the same has been put on stay.

"To allow further consultations, assessment and development of frameworks for handling Tilapia imports," stated Imende.

The ban that was issued on Tuesday, through a letter to the Chinese Embassy, sought to stop the importation of a specific species of Tilapia from China.

"This is to notify you that all fish import applications for Oreo chromis niloticus Tilapia will not be approved in the country with effect from January 1, 2019," read a part of the letter.

The directive to stop importing the fish from the Asian country was given by President Uhuru Kenyatta who reiterated that the government had to find a way to curb the influx of the fish in the market.

The move by the government was seen as an act of war by Acting Ambassador Li Xuhang who highlighted that China could react in the same way it reacted to the US when President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on Chinese goods.

The threat by the economic powerhouse was seen to pose a problem for the SGR construction loan Kenya sought, in order to advance the Naivasha-Kisumu phase which suffered a setback.

During Uhuru's second visit to the country in September, where he attended the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation, China refused to sign an agreement that would facilitate the SGR extension.